Pope Benedict XVI, 93, became the first Pope ever tender his resignation back in 2013. The Pontiff gave way for the current Pope, Francis seven years ago, after only eight years in his position. At the time, he told the Vatican City cardinals of a “lack of strength of mind and body”, in a Latin speech, and his health has since deteriorated.
Is Pope Benedict XVI ill?
Pope Benedict XVI is “extremely frail” according to German newspaper Passauer Neue Presse.
The publication cited Pope Benedict’s biographer Peter Seewald, who said he saw him in the Vatican at the weekend.
But the Vatican came forward with a less severe picture in an official statement.
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They said while the Pope’s condition was “painful” it was “not particularly worrying”.
The Vatican added the only concern around the elderly Pope was his age.
They said: “The health condition of the Pope Emeritus is not cause for particular concern, except for the fact that he is 93 years old and recovering from the acute phase of a painful but not serious condition.”
According to Mr Seewald, Benedict XVI’s voice was “barely audible”, but he “appeared optimistic”.
Pope Benedict XVI resigned at a time when the Vatican was juggling controversy, with allegations of child abuse and document leaks.
But he claimed his decision revolved exclusively around his advanced age, and vowed to stay “hidden from the world”.
He has since gone by the title of Pope Emeritus.
Although no longer an active leader of the Vatican, conservatives have looked to his example in light of Pope Francis’ more progressive stance.
Pope Francis I departed from the ways of his predecessors, offering a refreshing outlook the Vatican hasn’t recently entertained.
He famously declared: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?”
Pope Benedict, on the other hand, maintained many of the Vatican’s conservative beliefs, and his remarks received criticisms of homophobia from some LGBT groups.
Although he didn’t explicitly address the topic, people interpreted one of his addresses as critical of same-sex marriage.